By Carl Hanson

Scalloped potatoes are the classic, comforting accompaniment to so many holiday and other special occasion meals. There's much to love about this homey combination of thinly sliced potatoes, milk or cream, simple seasonings, and cheese.

It's a simple and straightforward concept, but even so, there are many subtle spins to put on this potato dish. Over the years, Allrecipes home cooks have perfected their personal favorites. Here, they offer tips and tricks, along with the top-rated scalloped potato recipes.

Mom's Scalloped Potatoes |Photo by lutzflcat

But before we get to the recipes and tips, let's tackle an old culinary question: What's the difference between scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes? For our purposes, not much. The French phrase au gratin refers to a browned topping usually of cheese and/or bread crumbs. Of course, you'll find that most scalloped potatoes, a term that refers to the thinly sliced potatoes, are also baked to a beautiful golden-brown bubbly finish, just as you'll find that the potatoes in au gratin potatoes are thinly sliced. Some say that adding cheese to layers of sliced potatoes makes them au gratin while adding a milk-based sauce makes them scalloped. But as you'll see in the recipes below, these "rules" are far from universal. So while there may be slight technical differences, which you can feel free to argue about, we like to use the terms interchangeably:

1. Fancy Crusted Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes

Slices of potatoes are layered on the top and around the edge of the baking dish to create a unique, beautiful crust for these creamy rosemary potatoes.

Tip: Slice 3 or 4 potatoes using a mandolin on the thinnest setting. Slice the remaining potatoes using a slightly thicker setting on the mandolin. Then line the bottom and the sides of the baking dish with thin potato slices, overlapping them.

Photo by Mackenzie Schieck

2. Steak House Au Gratin Potatoes

"These super creamy and rich restaurant style potatoes will be gobbled up fast," says Ingalyn.

Tip: "In case people are looking for a heavy cream substitute, I found this," says TWEETY75: "Melt 1/3 cup butter. Pour it into 3/4 cup milk, and stir. Use in place of one cup of heavy cream. Note: This substitute will not whip. If you use low-fat milk, add a tablespoon of flour to the mixture to thicken."

Tip: "They are excellent as leftovers warmed up in the microwave with eggs and bacon the next day," says Ingalyn.

Photo by lutzflcat

3. Simple Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

These scalloped potatoes, with ham and a creamy Alfredo sauce, make a complete meal that's perfect for using up leftover holiday ham.

Tip: "The unbaked gratin can be refrigerated overnight," says kemosuave. Return to room temperature before baking."

Photo by Baking Nana

4. Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes

"The creamy cheese sauce and the tender potatoes in this classic French dish combine to make a deliciously addictive experience," says CathyM. "It's a great side dish with a roast pork loin or beef tenderloin."

Tip: "To avoid lumps in your sauce, add the milk just a little at a time as you stir the flour and butter. Experiment with different cheeses for variety," says CathyM. "If you're using Cheddar, Michele recommends using Sharp cheese: "You cannot use a mild or even medium Cheddar with any Cheddar cheese sauce or it will be bland. You have to use a sharp/old cheddar to get the Cheddar flavor to come through."

Photo by lutzflcat

5. Baked Scalloped Potatoes

"A warm and cozy comfort food that goes great with anything, fancy or plain," says Denyse.

Tip: "Use whatever type of condensed cream soup you like," says Denyse. "I normally use broccoli, mushroom, or chicken depending on the accompanying entree."

Photo by Maria Eléna

6. Pork Chops with Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

Tender pork chops are baked with creamy scalloped potatoes with just a hint of thyme and Dijon mustard.

Tip: "I used my food processor with Yukons, a yellow onion, and a few fresh Serrano peppers from my garden, cleaned of tips and stems," says Eric da Butcher. "Also I washed off my potatoes with water to get the excess starch out of the potatoes, then air dried them on stacks of roll towel."

7. Poutine Style Scalloped Potatoes

Far from routine, these scalloped potatoes get the poutine treatment. They're baked with plenty of cheese and gravy.

Tip: Try it with bread crumbs on top, too.

Photo by Baking Nana

8. Herbed Scalloped Potatoes and Onions

This 5-star scalloped potatoes recipes doesn't call for cream or milk. Instead, it combines chicken broth with a little mayonnaise. "I was looking for a scalloped potato recipe that was not cream or milk based, and I really love this!" says emrstl1. "It came out tasty and the sauce was creamy and delicious."

Photo by Baking Nana

9. Old Irish Scalloped Potatoes

These simple scalloped potatoes include butter, half-and-half, and potatoes for a creamy side dish.

Tip: Place a lipped baking sheet or aluminum foil on the rack below the baking dish to catch spills.

Photo by Baking Nana

10. Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

These scalloped potatoes are smothered in a thick Cheddar cheese sauce and topped with cooked ham. "Delicious!" says Lumielle. "If you prefer a little kick, try adding a dash of cayenne pepper to the sauce."

Photo by lutzflcat

11. Scalloped Potatoes II

A simple classic: thin-sliced potatoes, baked with whole milk, flour, butter, and seasonings until creamy and tender.

Tip: Melyssa Evans recommends boiling the potatoes for 5 minutes first to cut the cooking time in half. She also says, "To get the top of the potatoes browned, you may need to broil them for 5 additional minutes (depending on your oven's cooking capabilities)."

Photo by lutzflcat

12. Creamy and Crispy Scalloped Potatoes

These scalloped potatoes are creamy and crispy without a ton of butter.

Tip: If you're creating a roux, keep Chef John's catchphrase in mind: "Hot roux, cold milk, no lumps."

Photo by Baking Nana

13. Mom's Scalloped Potatoes

"This is my idea of scalloped potatoes," raves Debi Carroll. "Other recipes call for so much cheese they become au gratin. This to me is a true scallop potato recipe. Very good!"

Tip: To cut down on baking time, quickly microwave or parboil the potatoes first before layering the potato slices in a baking dish.

Photo by lutzflcat

14. Best Instant Pot® Scalloped Potatoes

Here's a quick-and- easy version of scalloped potatoes that you make in minutes in your Instant Pot.

Tip: "Nice flavors," says SZYQ1, "and a time saver instead of baking the potatoes for an hour in the oven. The potatoes were perfectly tender and not mushy. My only real change would be to stir the potatoes a little to ensure the potatoes are evenly coated with the sauce."

Photo by SZYQ1

15. Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

"This cheesy scalloped potatoes and ham-layered casserole dish features buttery potatoes and sweet hickory ham baked in a double Jack and Cheddar cheese sauce," says Culinary Envy. "It's a quick and easy recipe that's perfect this time of year as a holiday side dish, or delicious anytime as a cozy meal on a chilly night!"

Photo by Culinary Envy

Check out our collection of Scalloped Potato Recipes.